GOTY 2014 - Top Ten - #8

Here it is: our list of the top ten games of 2014. The result of dozens of hours of preparation, discussion and debate, this list represents our consensus on the ten best and most-significant games of the year. Don't miss out on any of our Game of the Year coverage. Check out our full schedule here, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for instant updates.

P.T.

7780s Studio | August 12, 2014 | PlayStation 4

Something unprecedented happened earlier this year: a game without a title arrived with no warning from a made-up studio that provided zero indication as to its purpose or meaning.

P.T., which stands for "playable teaser," was a mysterious little box of horrors that unexpectedly showed up at the doorstep of every PlayStation 4 owner during this year's Gamescom expo. It was a tightly bound mystery with byzantine puzzles wrapped up in some truly unsettling horror direction, and it was unlike anything else we’ve seen. The internet hive mind naturally made short work of the game’s puzzles, and within a few hours it became clear that P.T. was a self-contained vehicle announcing a Silent Hill reboot from Konami’s veteran director Hideo Kojima, and Pan’s Labyrinth auteur Guillermo del Toro.

But P.T. is a whole lot more than a lockbox containing a short teaser video for another game. Instead, P.T. is an immaculate and surreal environment that you explore from a first-person perspective. What seems a benign and normal (and shockingly real, thanks to some incredible lighting and art direction) scene of domesticity slowly unravels into an unsettling and unhinged prison. Calm exploration turns to panicked flight, and as the game cycles further into madness the player grows even more deeply immersed in the reality (such as it is) of the situation.

P.T. is a masterful horror vignette and a fantastic example of how restrained direction coupled with modern hardware can deliver some of the creepiest and most unsettling horror experiences imaginable.  – Nick Cummings